Emperor_Penguin’s Player Councilor Application
I’m applying for Player Councilor, as I would like to give more value/weight/focus to the desires of the majority of FAF players, improve the TMM experience a lot, increase transparency, and reduce toxicity in FAF. In preparation for this application, I have spoken to members of many different FAF communities to get their perspectives so that I could better understand the desires of the communities that make up FAF and act in their best interests. I have been trying to learn more about what everyone wants, like I think the player councilor should.
Some background on me:
I have been part of the FAF community for 7+ years.
I helped with and coded many of the improvements in the random map generator within the last year, and worked on many other FAF-related projects.
I have personally made over 50 maps for FAF.
I have recurrently helped to train new FAF players and answer FAF-related questions.
I’m nice. I actually listen to feedback from ‘regular’ FAF players and normally respond in a relatively friendly and informative way.
Some differences to the other candidates:
I aim to make FAF more inclusive and to better-serve many underrepresented parts of FAF.
I am to make FAF significantly more transparent, with more community involvement for the things within my power as PC.
I am the only candidate with a solid history of reliably being relatively nice to players when they ask questions or suggest ideas rather than berating or dismissing them.
A lot of my opponents’ platforms/stances/activities seem to cater to the 1800+ and 1500+ crowds while giving a disproportionately small focus to the wants/needs of the large majority of FAF players. I intend to keep the 1500+/1800+ crowd happy while also making the majority of FAF players happier as well. (How? – Giving each bracket more of what they desire and improving TMM options and community involvement.)
I didn’t initially want to run for PC as it takes a lot of time and energy to do well, but I have a great vision for TMM, and I would like there to be a Player Councilor who accomplishes that and actually gives more value/weight/focus to the desires of the majority of FAF players.
The current focus for things like ladder/TMM map pools, forum attitudes/rhetoric, tournament funding/attention, etc, seems to cater primarily to high-level gameplay for the top 1%-5% of FAF players, while giving much less weight to the 77.1% of players with less than 1000 rating. AFAIK, most FAF players play FAF to have a good time, which generally involves playing a fun game with people in a friendly environment.
Giving a lot more weight to the desires of the lower and mid-level players will create a better experience for the thousands of noobs and mid-level players rather than catering to the <1% of players who are 1800+ players or even the top 5.2% of 1500+ global FAF players. Having a PC who is focused more on improving the experience of the ‘normal’ FAF player would help FAF to grow more and retain more players.
Some current statistics from recent leaderboards (using unrounded ratings for players with 10+ rated games):
For 1v1 Ladder:
1221 players with 10+ games = 100%
26 players with 1800+ rating = 2.1%
63 players with 1500+ rating = 5.2%
~941 players with <1000 rating = 77.1%
8782 players with 10+ games = 100%
83 players with 1800+ rating = 0.9%
342 players with 1500+ rating = 3.9%
~6,053 players with <1000 rating = 68.9%
I think the numbers speak for themselves.
Things like ladder/TMM map pools for lower-rated players should be changed to be a lot more like what the bulk of those players would actually like to play, or an additional matchmaker queue option should be added for them. (Currently, the lower-rated players’ map pools seem more like they’re designed as feeder-pools to weed out everyone who doesn’t like the basics of the types of gameplay enjoyed by high-level FAF ladder players and to get them experience with that sort of gameplay. While this isn’t the worst thing that could be done, it’s far from the best, and it doesn’t prioritize regular player preference, fun, playerbase growth, and new player retention anywhere near as much as it should.)
To address many of these challenges and several others, I believe that TMM should get a major overhaul from a user-perspective. I have already talked with developers and have a feasible vision for TMM, presented below:
TMM should appear to have one universal queue with a checklist of different game options/types that players can select/deselect to be queued for greater/fewer potential games and game types. Players get matched with other players who have compatible game preferences. With this system, players could have one overall TMM rating and or several different ratings for different individual queue options/categories. Sample TMM options list below:
Select game types to queue for:
(the more game types you select, the faster you will find a game)
[Select All Button]
o share until death
o full share
o new players only (only grays/players with low game counts could select this option)
o simple ladder map pool (easy maps that are noob-friendly)
o moderate ladder map pool (map pool intended primarily for mid-ranked players)
o advanced ladder map pool (more interesting maps for pro players)
o randomly generated maps
o rotating map pool decided by a different FAF community each cycle
o player's choice poll map pool
o popular map pool
o casual party-games (unrated)
o short casual party-games (unrated, games last 30 minutes or less)
These sample TMM options are open to changes based on community feedback, and additional options could be added if there is a strong desire for them and a willing developer. Certain things, like options to queue for games larger than 4v4, and things like a queue option for co-op games against AI or a map veto system, are things that I am in favor of adding to the matchmaker as well, but would require significant additional coding/problem-solving to be incorporated, and would only be added if there is a willing developer (strong community support for something often makes developers more willing). Other things, like making one or more queue options affect global rating, could be done more quickly. So, if there is strong community support for having one or more TMM options use/affect global rating, I would want to add that feature, as that could help noobs/grays/etc to get good games and proper global ratings more easily.
Improving the community experience:
I plan to act as a liaison between the playerbase and other FAF officials. Specifically, I plan to voice the wills of the playerbase and work with the relevant FAF officials to try to get popular changes that would be good for FAF implemented. So, for example, this might include talking with the moderation team about implementing a better system for requiring ‘official’ FAF streamers to adhere to certain non-toxic standards.
I plan to make substantial efforts to reduce toxicity in the community, and that will be a major focus for me. I plan to bring FAF into better repute and aim to work with the FAF association and the board to bring about important changes to the FAF leadership structure that will improve the situation tremendously. I’ve already spoken with the president of the board (among others) to that effect.
Furthermore, I plan to increase transparency on FAF dramatically. This incudes:
Creating a new channel on the FAF Discord specifically for community discussion of ladder/TMM map pools, the maps in them (and their gameplay), and the processes used to determine what maps are put in the pools
Making ladder/TMM team map pool discussions publicly visible on the FAF Discord
Posting potential ladder/TMM map pools in advance on the FAF Discord (where they can be discussed for potential changes before being implemented)
Actively giving more (useful) feedback to map authors when they submit a map for ladder/TMM and it doesn’t make the cut (oftentimes, people submit maps for ladder/TMM and get basically no response from the PC or his team, even after several months… this is obnoxious/frustrating to the mapper and it lowers the odds of the mapper creating good maps for ladder/TMM in the future)
Working with other teams (such as the balance team) to make more explanations and easily accessible community involvement for improving FAF via things like new Discord channels for suggesting and discussing balance changes as well as things like suggestion channels for improving the random map generator and map pools.
I would continue PC support for the Legend of the Star(s) and intend to support the high-level competitive FAF scene as it has a solid format that has many positives. I would also encourage and support additional tournaments and event creation, including for things like ‘Average Joes’ tournaments and “Map Gen’ tournaments, etc.
I would continue the tradition of working with potential donors to properly distribute funds and create appealing tournament formats. I would continue to help make tournaments fun and competitive experiences for players with proper scheduling, avatar rewards, prize money, etc.
I would work with both established casters and up-and-coming casters to provide them with good live castable tournament content. I would work with the promotions team to ensure the promotion of FAF tournaments and various casts and streams.
However, while I am ready and willing to support tournaments and events in all the ways reasonably expected of the PC, including as outlined above, I feel that the PC position has grown too extensive and would be better-served by an additional elected position, which I’ve tentatively dubbed ‘Tournaments Leader’.
So, if I am elected PC, I would promptly hold an election for the ‘Tournaments Leader’ position and would accept applications from any reasonable candidates that are in line with FAF’s standards and would do a respectable job. The accepted applicants would then be put to a vote by the overall FAF community, and the winner would become the new ‘Tournaments Leader’.
The ‘Tournaments Leader’ would be part of the PC team and would handle almost all tournament-related responsibilities of the PC and could bring additional visions and ideas for better-serving the tournaments side of FAF. However, if for whatever reason, the ‘Tournaments Leader’ fails in his duties, I would take over and handle things properly.
If elected, I will:
Collaborate with the FAF Board to work towards our objectives.
Communicate professionally and avoid bringing FAF into disrepute.
Spend an average of at least 4 hours per week working on these responsibilities.
Be available at least 2 hours every other week for a voice call to discuss these responsibilities and the responsibilities of other FAF Councilors.
Attempt to help other Councilors perform their responsibilities.
Understand that if I am unable to perform these duties, I may resign or be replaced.
If elected, I plan to:
Have substantial positive impact on the FAF community and community growth, not only by making changes that benefit more of the players, but also by helping to change the atmosphere on FAF (in Discord, forums, etc) to be more friendly and less dismissive/toxic to noobs and to new ideas
Massively improve the TMM experience with lots of user-choice and new options with community-driven map pools (including the option to queue for just randomly generated maps)
Survey and poll a lot more and take greater efforts to reach regular FAF players
Create a publicly visible section on the FAF Discord specifically for discussing ladder/TMM map pools, the maps in them (and their gameplay), and the processes used to determine what maps are put in the pools
Create systems for more community engagement and transparency with things like map pool selection, balancing, a reaction-based polls channel in the FAF Discord, etc
Create a new elected position specifically for tournaments (tentatively dubbed ‘Tournaments Leader’)
Act as a liaison between the playerbase and other FAF officials
Work with the FAF association and the board to bring about important changes to the FAF leadership structure that will improve FAF’s atmosphere and situation tremendously